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Developing nations to back Iran on nuclear energy

Written by: Staff

HAVANA, Sep 10: Developing nations will back Iran's disputed nuclear program during this week's summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said today.

The 116-nation NAM, which groups almost two-thirds of the member states of the United Nations, will endorse Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful ends, including the right to enrich uranium to produce electricity, he said.

The Cuban minister criticised the ''hypocritical double standard'' of arch-rival the United States and other Western nations who have tried to stop Iran's nuclear program.

''The United States and its allies are against Iran developing the ability to produce nuclear energy, while many of these countries that are nuclear powers are perfecting their arsenals,'' Perez Roque said at a news conference.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected in Cuba on Thursday, one of more than 50 heads of state and government who plan to attend the summit, he said.

Iran's nuclear negotiator and the European Union today made progress in talks in Vienna to explore a compromise before possible punitive action after Iran ignored an August 31 UN Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium, a process that could yield atomic bombs.

Washington is pushing for swift Security Council action to impose sanctions on Iran over its atomic fuel work. Europe has had misgivings about isolating the world's No. 4 oil supplier.

Perez Roque said the NAM supports total disarmament and the destruction of nuclear weapons. ''We are opposed to nuclear weapons. But we are also opposed to the hypocrisy'' of the nuclear powers, he said.


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